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Chelsea is in third place in Group E behind Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus with one match left. The Blues next face Danish club FC Nordsjaelland, but they could still be eliminated even if they win depending on the result of the other game.
In the Premier League, Chelsea had been leading for much of the season but now trails Manchester City and Manchester United.
"The club faces a difficult task ahead in qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League as well as maintaining a strong challenge for the top of the Premier League while competing in three other cup competitions. Our aim is to remain as competitive as possible and challenge strongly on all fronts," Chelsea said.
Chelsea's next game will be a home Premier League match against Manchester City on Sunday.
The 42-year-old Di Matteo is a Swiss-born Italian who played for Italy's national team and also served as a midfielder for Chelsea. After his retirement, he went into coaching and led both the MK Dons and West Bromwich Albion before joining Chelsea's backroom staff.
"We will never forget the huge contribution he has made to this club's history," Chelsea's statement said.
Benitez has been out of work since being fired by Inter in December 2010. Although experienced, the appointment of Benitez would raise eyebrows given his trademark defensive approach. Abramovich is widely known to prefer his team to show a more attacking style, demonstrating this by spending heavily on attacking midfielders Oscar, Eden Hazard and Victor Moses in the close season.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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